Deal Alert: Fly United’s new routes to Europe with wide-open business class award space
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For those looking to fly business class across the Pond — with miles, of course — award availability is wide open on many of United’s newly announced routes. This even includes peak summer 2022 travel when finding award availability — especially in business cabins — is typically sparse. And if you are looking to travel with family members or friends, many routes even have multiple seats available.
Here’s what you should be looking for.
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Airline: United Airlines
Routes: EWR-PDL, EWR-BGO, ORD-MXP, DEN-MUC, IAD-BER
Cost: 120,000 United MileagePlus miles roundtrip and around $52 to $130 in taxes and fees
Dates: Starting May 2022
Pay with: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel, on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), Citi Premier® Card (3x on air travel ), Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on travel), American Express® Gold Card (3x on airfare when booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel).
Open award space on United’s newest European routes
Here’s a look at award space on five of United’s newly announced routes to Europe. Note that the award space shown here isn’t exhaustive and you may find seats on other dates as well. Further, the award space shown below is for one passenger but many dates have space for 2 or more passengers.
Newark (EWR) to Bergen (BGO) for 120,000 United miles round-trip
United’s newly announced nonstop route from Newark to Bergen marks the resumption of service between the U.S. and Norway’s second-largest city. The route starts May 20, 2022, and will be operated three times per week by a Boeing 757-200, with 16 lie-flat business-class seats (just note that these aren’t the airline’s flagship Polaris ones).
Newark (EWR) to Ponta Delgada (PDL) for 120,000 United miles round-trip
There are very limited options to fly to the Azores, but starting May 13, 2022, you’ll be able to fly from non-stop Newark to Ponta Delgada, Portugal on a Boeing 737 MAX 8. Unfortunately, this means there are no lie-flat seats offered in business class — these will just be recliners.
Chicago (ORD) to Milan (MXP) for 120,000 United miles round-trip
Even though this route starts May 6, 2022, we aren’t seeing business-class availability until July, when there’s award space daily.
Denver (DEN) to Munich (MUC) for 120,000 United miles round-trip
If you want to beat the summer rush, you can fly from Denver to Munich as early as April 23, 2022. On many of these days, as many as five business-class award seats are available. This route will be operated by a Boeing 787-9.
Washington-Dulles (IAD) to Berlin (BER) for 120,000 United miles round-trip
Starting May 6, 2022, you can fly from Washington-Dulles to Berlin on a Boeing 767-400ER. Some dates have as many as four business-class award seats available.
How to book
If you are looking to use your United miles, there are no special tricks or special codes needed to find these fares. You’ll just go straight to the United website, plug in your desired cities and dates and search for availability. If you find availability that works, you can either just book, or top up your MileagePlus account by transferring points from your Chase Ultimate Rewards account and then book the ticket accordingly.
And remember, many flights can now be canceled or changed for no fee when using award miles.
Using partner airlines to book
Instead of using United miles to book your flight, you can also use partner airlines’ miles to book a United-operated flight.
For example, Aeroplan is a United partner, where they have a fixed redemption chart for flying partner airlines. Depending on the distance of the specific flight you book, expect to pay 60,000 to 70,000 Aeroplan points for United business class one-way between the U.S. and Europe. If you want to add a stopover, you can do so for just 5,000 more points. For a round-trip itinerary, you can add up to two stopovers.
The other advantage is that Capital One is a transfer partner to Aeroplan — but not United — so you can transfer your Capital One miles to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio and then book a United-operated flight from your Aeroplan account (note: Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer to Aeroplan on a 1:1 basis, too). This is helpful if you have a stash of points earned from the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
Avianca LifeMiles is another United partner, where you can transfer points into your LifeMiles account from American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One and Citi ThankYou Rewards at a 1:1 ratio. With the Citi Premier card offering an all-time high welcome bonus, this is a great opportunity to use your points earned.
Maximize your purchase
Don’t forget to use a card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel, on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), Citi Premier Card (3x on air travel), Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on travel), American Express Gold Card (3x on airfare when booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel).
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.
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